THE ORIGIN AND TRANSFORMATION
They are all totally wrong. IT’S THE RINGS! “– Ron & Maria, friends of Palladio Jewellers.
In the words of Ron & Maria, it’s the Rings that makes a wedding memorable.
As we all are aware, exchanging rings is an important part of the wedding ceremony and hold very special meaning for the couple in terms of their journey and vows made to each for the time to come, but do we know how and when this tradition started?
Let’s discover the fascinating history behind the first exchange and evolution of wedding rings over these years.
FIRST EXCHANGE OF A WEDDING RING
According to the Gemological Institute of America, Egyptian pharaohs wore and gave rings to represent eternity, with the circle reflecting their cultural belief that your soul lives on even after your body is deceased. The ‘ouroboros’ ring portrayed a common Egyptian motif: a serpent swallowing its own tail, symbolizing the cycle of life.
They believed that the fourth finger of the left hand (commonly known as the ring finger) had a vein that connected directly to the heart. This was called the vena amoris, or ‘vein of love’—though the theory has since been disproven, it is the romantic notion about eternal love that still holds the power of bringing tears in the eyes of even the toughest of men while exchanging the ring with their beloved on the most special day of their life.
Take a look at the introduction and transformation of the wedding rings around the world over all these years:
HISTORY OF WEDDING RINGS IN ANCIENT ROME
It is this gesture that started the trend of using precious metals in wedding bands today. The durable metal represents permanence and strength, as well as an unbreakable bond between the couple.
WEDDING RINGS DURING MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE PERIODS
Medieval Europeans used rubies to symbolize passion, sapphires to symbolize the heavens and diamonds to symbolize steadfast strength.
In the 15th century, sterling silver ‘Posy rings’ gained popularity. They featured short engravings of the poems or scriptures. The design for these rings evolved over time from outward-facing inscriptions to inward-facing inscriptions to keep the message personal to the wearer. It is during these times that couples started considering their marriage as something intimate rather than a simple legal agreement.
The fede motif later evolved into the Claddagh ring, which showed a pair of hands holding a heart. Gimmel rings with the Claddagh motif often had a third center band showing a gem clasped by two hands.
During the Renaissance period, where many cultures encouraged the exchange of wedding rings to symbolise the unity between the couple, toes ring (also known as Bichiya) was introduced in the Hindu culture.
THE TRADITION OF DIAMOND WEDDING RINGS
The first famous diamond engagement ring was given in 1477 by Archduke Maximillian of Austria to Mary of Burgundy. The ring is said to have been made up of small flat diamonds that spelled out Mary’s initial, M, a fitting gift for the future duchess who was the most eligible bachelorette of the time.
As western cultural influence ingrained throughout Asia, India, and the Middle East, wedding rings became much more widely used, with a twist in design varying from region to region.
WHEN DID MEN START WEARING WEDDING RINGS?
SIGNIFICANCE OF WEDDING RINGS TODAY
In recent decades, weddings rings have evolved into statements of individuality and partnership that are worn by two people with a promise of lifetime togetherness. Both wedding rings and engagement rings are now the most important part of the wedding ceremonies not just in Western countries but in almost all parts of the world. Couple put in their thought and time to create these rings which stand as a testament of their love stories.